The procurator and Banga


The sculptural composition features Pontius Pilate and his dog Banga in a moment of contemplative calm. The lofty evangelical theme to which Pontius Pilate’s name is tied fades into background, to spotlight another important narrative strand from Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel “The Master and Margarita” – loneliness and loyalty, disillusionment and hope. The artist employs the medium of sculpture to emphasise the feeling that the man’s and the dog’s lives are inseparable, placing these dialogic problematics at the centre of the inner conflict. The massive quadratic silhouette of the group is repeated in the inner lines, details and fragments of the whole, such as Pilate’s heavy head, the contour of his shoulders, the bends of his arms, the assertive posture of his feet, as well as the dog’s attitude and the form of its muzzle. Similar pithy expressiveness distinguishes the sculpture’s visual language – generalised, terse, combining the monumental clearness of a smoothened surface with the sharp depressions, cleavages, non finito effects. The images are impersonal, persuasive in their universality and, even for someone ignorant about their connection with a certain work of literature, capable of inciting expansive reflection on eternal human values.

 

Brief annotations to the image

THE PROCURATOR AND BANGA are Pontius Pilate (see previous annotation) and his dog Banga; based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel “The Master and Margarita” (1929-1940). “The  Procurator sat down in a chair. Banga, tongue hanging out and panting fast, lay down at Pilate's feet with an expression of delight that the thunderstorm was  over, the  only thing in the world that frightened this otherwise fearless animal; delighted, too, because it was back again with  the  man it loved, respected and  regarded  as the most  powerful being on  earth, the  ruler of all men, thanks to whom the dog too felt itself a specially privileged  and  superior creature.”